The Sunflower Fields

On July 24th, I went out to McKee Beshers for two fun sunflower sessions. The first with the lovely ViNa and the second with Ms. Brickhouse.  The first shoot with ViNa was a fun flirty shoot using the sunflower headpiece and yellow tulle piece I made last year. The tulle piece worked as a short flirty dress on the model, since she was petite, the tulle piece acts as a top only on taller models.  While second shoot with Ms. Brickhouse was full on sunflower queen and used the sunflower headpiece and a yellow maxi dress.  I love the versatility of the sunflower fields, the headpiece, and how each models’ personalities come out resulting in two very different sessions. 

For these sessions I used:

  • Canon 80D
  • 2 Speed light (1 acted as a trigger)
  • Light stand
  • Trigger
  • Small Lumiquest square soft box
  • Sunflower headpiece
  • 18-200mm lens

These sessions were done in bright sunlight on a partly cloudy day.  Under these conditions I shot using an ISO of 100 and an aperture of F11. I chose F11 because I wasn’t worried about bokeh, I wanted to have the sunflowers in a least some focus, and most importantly had to stop down for the sun to stay in the flash speed range. Most of my images from the sessions were shot at three main shutter speeds of 1/160s, 1/100s, and 1/250s. (Max flash sync speed for my speed lights are 1/250s before having to transfer to highspeed sync.)  I used a nice range of focal lengths for these sessions with most of the images shot between 18mm - 50mm, with the most common focal length being 18mm.  

The first session with ViNa was fun and flirty. She is a very happy person who was just excited to be out in the sunflower fields.  For my sessions I like to have a bit of theme or loose concept, which I find allows the model to focus a bit and work the poses.  So, for this first session I told her to think she is musician doing an album cover.  

I have two favorite images from the first session. I like this first image because it is feminine and a little mysterious. When editing this image, I cropped to 8.5x11-inches ensuring there was focus on the eyes, which I feel pull you into the image.  I did basic adjustments and cleaned up minor skin blemishes.  Then I toned the image using a yellow/violet split tone. The split tone works well with this image gibing it a sense of warms without overpowering or changing the colors of the image dramatically. The yellows are in the highlights while the violets are in the shadows.

My second favorite image is one of the last photos from the session.  The model asked if she could remove the headpiece and just stand in the field with an expression of bliss.  I love the image because you can just feel her happiness and bliss. The loose hair, and the face lifted towards the sun with a bit of a smile just captures how happy she was to be in the field. I followed the same basic edits as the previous image but did not tone the image, so it is just pure sunlight coming through.

The second session was with Ms. Brickhouse who just killed the whole session from the beginning to end.  I loved several of the images from the session, which makes it hard just to pick a couple. One of my favorites is this power pose that exudes the confidence of a queen.  I did the standard edits to balance out the image. Then added a yellow/violet split tone.  I feel like the split tone gave the image some warmth but also a little bit of a vintage feel, without loosing the power behind the overall image. The yellows are in the highlights, while the violets are in the shadows.

This second image is a beauty shot from a distance.  To get this image the flash was directly to my right and the sun was to my left.  Her expression was perfect and had a bit of adoration and softness about it. It was perfect beauty shot expression.  When editing this image I did basic edits, and highlighted the light in her eyes slightly to make them pop. I did lightly tone this image with a yellow/violet split tone, to give it a hint of something.

This final image I like because it exudes strength, and reminds me of a combination of the “Queen of Rods” and “Queen of Pentacles” tarot cards from the Morgan Greer deck.  (Side note, I do read tarot and use the Morgan Geer deck, so that imagery is very familiar to me.) Overall, the pose and expression is that of intelligent but bored queen.  I did basic edit to this image and used a slight yellow/violet split tone to slightly pop the image.

I enjoyed doing both these sessions and loved working with each of the models. I liked their unique personalities and how they brought them to the sessions.  There personalities really ensure that I got two unique sets in the same location.  I also like how in several of the images the yellow/violet split tone help to pop the image and give it some additional depth.  Finally, the set with ViNa will be published in Over Magazine and the set with Ms. Brickhouse will be published in Edith Mode Magazine


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